Man charged with breaking into office of Laconia apartment building owner

LACONIA — A man who told police he lives in an Gilford Avenue apartment is charged with one count of burglary after police caught him allegedly exiting the office of the building manager, where rents are left.
After appearing in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division by video Monday, Jeremy J. Drake, 29, who told police he lives at 65 Gilford Ave. Apt. 5, was ordered held on $250 cash and $5,000 personal recognizance bail. Erik Harper, who owns the 6-unit building told The Daily Sun on Tuesday that Drake is not one of his tenants but he is familiar with him because he has been an occasional guest of one of his tenants.
Court affidavits indicate police were called to the apartment building Friday night at 11 p.m. by a resident complaining that two intoxicated men were vandalizing the hallway. The caller told police the two men likely didn't live in the building.
When police arrived, they went to the basement and saw a man they later identified as Drake exiting what they thought was a storage room at the end of the basement hall. Police described the basement as having a series of washers and dryers and individually paddle-locked storage units for the tenants.
Drake initially told police he lived in Apartment 5 and was alone. He admitted he had been drinking and police allowed him to return to his apartment.
While checking for vandalism on the first floor, other tenants told police that they heard two men prying open a grate through which tenants deposit their rent checks. One tenant took police to the basement and showed them the outside door of the office and police recognized that door as the one they saw Drake exiting when they first arrived. Police said the office door had been pried open.
They returned to Apartment 5 and confronted Drake, who initially told them he was doing laundry and later told them he was folding his laundry in his storage unit. When asked what was in the unit, he allegedly said "don't ask me" but was allegedly unable to identify anything in the unit. Then he told police he didn't live in the apartment but a friend did and he occasionally "crashed" there.
When building owner Harper arrived, police said he told police them it was his office door that had been pried open, that Drake was not an official resident in his building and that he does have a chute that goes to his office in the basement that tenants use to deposit the rent.
Affidavits also said the owner said his tenants all rent weekly and rents are due either Friday or Saturday. He also allegedly told police he had trouble with Blake and another man in the past.
Harper said he was thankful for the way police handled the situation and also to all his tenants for way they look out each other's safety and for his real property.